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Afghanistan: Heavy Bombing As Taliban Gains Recruits

Prague, 27 October 2001 (RFE/RL) -- U.S. warplanes are pounding suspected Taliban military targets and front-line positions in Afghanistan in what reports call some of the heaviest bombing of the country since it began three weeks ago. Reports say the planes hit targets near the Afghan capital Kabul, Kandahar, Jalalabad, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, and Talokan.

The Taliban claims to have fought off an attack from opposition Northern Alliance forces near the strategic city of Mazar-i-Sharif. But Alliance commander General Abdul Rashid Dostum says his forces' forward positions are now 5 kilometers from the city's airport.

An Alliance Foreign Ministry official says two people were killed when a stray U.S. bomb hit a village in opposition-controlled territory.

The official said the bomb hit the village of Khan Agaha, just 3 kilometers from the Taliban front lines.

Meanwhile, a convoy of 100 trucks carrying pro-Taliban tribesmen from northern Pakistan is set to enter Afghanistan. The group says it will help the Taliban defend itself against strikes by the U.S.-led coalition.